Aythya ferina

Pochard (Aythya ferina) male

The male of the species has a brownish-red head, light grey back plumage, a deep black breast and dark tail. It also has a red eye and a pale patch on the dark bill. The female has a brown head and breast, flecked brown back plumage, and a brownish eye with a white ring.  Similar to the Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) and the Scaup.

They dive beneath the water for seeds, shoots and roots, snails, insects, and small fish, often feeding at night. The nest is a large pad of leaves and down in reeds near the water. The female lays 8 to 10 eggs in 1 brood, from April-July. They can live for up to 10 years.

Seen all year round, and found at large lakes and estuaries. The Pochard can accumulate in quite large flocks, and in the late autumn hundred may come together on a lake. They are quite rare breeding birds in the UK. This is one of the commonest inland diving birds, along with the Tufted Duck which often accompanies it. Widespread.

Photograph taken October 2011, nature reserve, Staffordshire. Camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38. © Pete Hillman 2011.